All posts by RickybanPhotography

Sony A7RII with the Sigma 35mm ART Sony A Lens

I’ve been testing the Sony A7RII with the Sigma ART A Lens. And getting some fantastic results. So far, this is an amazing 35mm Prime lens. Especially cheap considering in is F1.4 prime. Yes you need a A mount lens adapter. But it’s very sharp and vibrant.

But my first initial comments.

Focusing is pretty fast. The Lens is very sharp from f1.4 to F22. It has a very nice quality. Very little vignetting. But enough to give it some personality. Sharper at the edges that i thought it would be.  For the quality, this is a very cheap F1.4 35mm lens.

The lens is big and heavy, and not a match for the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 Distagon. But for half the price. Its great value for the money. And if you don’t mind a non native lens, this is a fantastic Fantastic lens. Gorgeous Bokeh, lovely DOF. And a great fast wide lens.


NEW! Sony A7Rii 1.10 Firmware update

Sony Release a new firmware update but still no 14bit Raw.

They have improved a symptom to rarely become front focus depending on shooting scene.

They have decreased chroma noise when long exposure NR is set off.

And improved High continuous shooting speed when using with the flash. Which i am happy about but have not tested.


Sony a7RII (ILCE-7RM2) Camera Firmware Update 1.10: MAC | WIN


MAC 10.10 Yosemite users if you have not already done so, you will need to first install Mac OS X 10.10 Driver Loader before running any updates.

Try something Different!

If you can, always try something different. Some kind of composition that has not been done. It will help your images to stand out from the crowd.

And there is no greater test than famous landmarks that are photographed by Millions ever week. So I picked Big Ben!


Framing opportunities are also a great way to make your images Unique.


Or try applying some photography tricks like motion.

This was an image i actually made a large mistake on with ISO. But i turned that weakness into a strength via post processing.

No matter what you try, have fun and don’t be afraid to fail. I have over 200 images of Big Ben in my Trash! But it’s all worth it for those few golden images!

Common Photography mistakes I make :-)


I have been asked loads of times what my most common mistakes are. And to be honest, I make loads. I’m an amature Photographer after all, so its ok right?

Yes and no.

Mistakes are the best way to learn as long as you learn from them. The whole point of being creative is to be fearless and embrace mistakes like dear old family member. But some mistakes I am almost too embarrassed to admit too! But I will just for you…:-)

This was an image i actually made a large mistake on with ISO. But i turned that weakness into a strength via post processing.
This was an image i actually made a large mistake on with ISO. But i turned that weakness into a strength via post processing.

Mistakes I make:

  1. Poor composition
  2. Wrong depth of field. Easy to resolve by knowing the lens you have and how it works with DOF. Some lenses will have everything in sharp focus at F/9, others need to go all the way to F/22 etc…
  3. Wrong shutter speed. This usually happens when things change too fast. Or a street scene presents itself from out of know where.
  4. Wrong lenses for the image. I find I wish I carried two cameras: One with a 50mm and one with a wide lenses when in places like London. Surrounded by Cityscape and people. But I am not a big lover of all purpose lenses. Like a 18-55mm. They are never as sharp as I would like. This could be me being picky. I bet a lot of people would disagree with that opinion. I just like primes most of the time.
  5. Did not bring a specific lens. I have found so many times that I wished i’d take my 135mm.

Worst mistakes I should not have made

  1. My all time worst mistake was travelling 150 miles into a very desolate place to then find i had left my pouch of memory cards at home. And no card in my camera.
  2. I did it again 1 year later…Forgot my memory cards.
  3. All of my batteries were flat.
  4. Forgot my tripod bracket for a family event recently!!! I thought it was in my bag.
  5. Forgot my bracket again, after travelling to London to do some late night long exposures. I ended up carrying my tripod around for nothing.

There are more and i am going to update this Blog entry.

But i would love to hear what mistakes you guys are making. I think to bring awareness helps to avoid some of them.

Things i do to avoid mistakes:

  1. I have a check list to make sure i have everything i need.
  2. I’ve customised buttons on my camera to help me get to the correct setting faster.
  3. I try to make a plan.

A little London Challenge


Sometimes i like to give myself these little challenges. It pushes my photography and perception of scenes. This sometimes gives me some really fun and nice results. On occasions even some of my best images!

So this challenge is to try and get some unique perspectives on a very well photographs London! I want to create photos that have not been done. Thats not to say someone has not already done it. Just that i am not aware of it.

Some simple things i always do:

Get low, get high, look all around. Wait for a specific idea to present itself. Try to get to places not always accessible. Try wide shots with some fun tilting. Even a social story when possible.

You get the idea 🙂

Here are some of my Images:

So here is my selection.

London St Pauls
Broken Symmetry
London Canary Wharf.
Social Storie
Difficult Perspectives
Difficult Perspectives (The thames river was low so i was able to get right under the Millennium Bridge)
Going Wide with what i hope is a Unique Composition.
Going in closer.
Not very original but i do love motion blur in London and i did try to give it my own post processing style.
Not very original but i do love motion blur in London and i did try to give it my own post processing style.


Try jumping out of your comfort zone. Challenge your skills with a camera. Get creative with composition and post processing. It is a great and fun way to push your photography skills. You may end up with hundreds of dud images, but it’s those few golden ones that make it all worth it!





Travelling to Venice?

Ok, i’ve just got back from a trip to Venice and thought i would share not just my images, but also some travel tips and advice.


This was my first trip to Venice, so i fell into a couple of EURO sucking traps that can be avoided. Just to be clear

  1. Ignore the people at the travel ticket desk that tell you you need to get the bus into Venice for €18 per person, then spend €45 per person on a 3 day Boat pass. The boat pass is enough as the airport is one of the travel zones covered by the boat! I argued this, but she was not having any of it…
  2. It’s hot, you will always need water with you. You can but a small water bottle from a tourist trap shop for €2, or a large bottle from a supermarket for a 10th of that at 20cents. Use a big bottle. You go through it fast. You can also fill the bottle from many small drinking water points for free and the water tastes great!
  3. Take really comfortable walking shoes / trainers. You will walk many miles down the little passage ways as you try to find where you are during the many times you get lost.gcanalnight3
  4. Speaking of getting lost. Venice is a maze, a puzzle invented by a mad genius. You will hit dead ends, constantly feel disorientated and get really annoyed with your map. But there is a saving grace. If you know the main area where you are heading towards, like the Rialto Bridge, Piazza St Marco etc..Then the one thing the Venetians are good at, its leaving many signs and arrows everywhere. They also are good at showing where the nearest toilets are.DSC06594_5_6_tonemapped
  5. Never eat from a place that has pictures of the food! This has never been truer than in Venice. The food will suck, they will have 15% hidden service charges and the drinks will be expensive.
  6. Try to eat away from the main tourist concentration points. The food is not at its best, its expensive and very busy.
  7. Get eating tips from the internet. There are many recommended places that are rather cheap and the food, service and wine is fantastic…and so is the price 🙂
  8. Never eat in a place that does not show the cost of drinks. It’s because they are ridiculous!
  9. Having a drink in Piazza St Marco is around €14 per glass of wine! It may seem like a good idea, but it’s only really worth it at night when the orchestra is playing and you can just sit and chill out as the crowds melt away. Giving way to some interesting night life.
  10. Try to ignore the many many street sellers. Trying to sell you either a selfie stick, handbags, belts, roses or little LED kids toys! The second they have your eye contact, they are a pain to get rid off. One guy really tried hard to sell me a selfie stick. So i took it, put it up to my camera and asked him how it attached. He look very confused and took it back! 🙂
  11. Take your tripod. Night time photography in Venice is a must! The place is astounding! night3
  12. Take either a laptop or many memory cards! There are so many amazing places and things to photograph. It’s a photographers heaven.gcanalnight1
  13. Depending on your time of year (my trip being August, the hight of the Tourist trade) Venice is extremely busy. The main areas along the Grand Canal, Basilica, and Piazza St Marco, Rialto Bridge etc..They are mad, just mad! Thousands of people all crammed in and sweating from the 34 degrees. But the good news is that there are tones of places just around the corner that are very quiet. I would constantly find little places where i could take my shoes off and dip my feet in the canal to cool off.20469355925_2e18437c1c_o
  14. You love the idea of a Gondola ride, right? You can’t go to Venice without one. That would be like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel tower. The price is high. Around €90 for a 30-40 minute tour. If you are lucky, you will get a Gondolier that is actually more interested in showing you and telling you about the landmarks and interesting places than he is bantering with the other Gondolier drivers.
  15. Most religious places forbid the use of cameras. So if you think you are going into the Basilica to take wonderful HDR images, think again. And if you are female. You have to spend a few €’s covering both your legs and shoulders. A bit of a contradiction considering they believe god made us naked and didn’t want us to cover up and show modesty! But there you go!20469032241_0f1d77f91a_o
  16. Take a sensor cleaning kit if you change lenses a lot. I found i got a lot of dust particles on the sensor, no matter how hard i tried to be careful.

These are the best travel photography tips i can give you. Maybe avoid Summer peak times too. It can get very hot and very crowded. But all in all, Venice is a fantastic place to go if you are a photographer or not. My wife enjoyed the Wine, food and scenery while i was happy snapping away!

Safe travels!

Venice and my Sony A7RII

I’m spending the next 4 days in Venice on a romantic mini break with my Sony A7RII. Oh! and the wife! 🙂 After all it is our 12 year wedding anniversary.

I’m hoping to enjoy some good food and wine in the City of Love with the wife. In-between, get out as much as i can to take photos. Unfortunately it’s around 34 degrees and

Pulling in the details with the new sony.
Pulling in the details with the new sony.

i can only stay out for a few hours at a time. Then i am drawn back to take a shower and enjoy our air conditioned room :-).

This place is incredibly busy and expensive! But i promised i would not complain!

Sony A7RII Dynamic range

One thing i have noticed since having the new Sony A7RII. The dynamic range of many pictures often looks like i have used HDR. They are full of detail, colour and visual range across the perceived light stops.

And interesting article shows the comparison against the original A7R, A7RII and the Canon 5DSr.

Sony A7Rii compared with Sony A7R & Canon 5DSr

My image below shows how much you can get out of a single image. After a bit of post processing of course 😉

Hide and seek

Sony A7RII 42MP’s of Glory

I Dragged myself out this afternoon for a walk with the kids. In truth, i was dying to use the new camera. The light was pretty dull, so i opted to do a little Auto-braketing HDR work. This is a subtle 0.3EV9 (9 frames :-)) All handheld and very little post processing apart from stacking, de-ghosting. But no crazy Photomatix profiles. Personally i am blown away by the dynamic range, natural looking HDR and colours. I’d love to know what you think. Back to bed now!